Dear WiMSA members,
As my term as WiMSA working committee chairperson comes to an end, I have been reflecting on all that has transpired over the past two years.
The committee came together towards the end of 2020 to reshape our strategy. The idea was to ensure that every committee member knew what our purpose and mission was so that we could easily align requests for support and participation with what we believed would serve our members best.
Our purpose: "Inspiring women to build a better world through mining."
Our mission: "We enable women working in the South African mining industry through networking, stakeholder collaboration and mentorship."
At the beginning of 2021, we were still very much in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, in which WiMSA had to re-invent itself to offer virtual service to our members.
One positive aspect that emerged from this period was that we became adept at hosting online events and grew our membership base to include women across the whole of Southern Africa.
The theme for the past two years was SHINE, which meant we focused our events on Safety, Heroes & Heroines, Inclusivity, helping our members to Navigate their careers, and we sought to Empower. This theme also evolved into the hashtag #showupandshine, which our mentees and members embraced.
Several key changes to WiMSA's running and offerings over the past two years included:
We removed admin duties from committee members, so that committee members could focus on growing portfolios aligned with our purpose and mission. We enlisted the help of Nici Maritz (Officility), and WiMSA's admin is now managed professionally and efficiently by the Officility team.
We launched our early-career mentoring programme, which has seen 76 young women in the first ten years of their career benefit from a peer-to-peer mentorship programme. Thanks to Briony Liber Coaching & Mentoring and our WiMSA mentoring sub-committee, we have seen our mentees become the CEOs of their own careers. They have become avid WiMSA advocates and are a great source of interns for WiMSA’s volunteering activities. Our sponsors for this programme included Anglo American, Amis, Weir Minerals, UMS Group, OIM Consultants and Tshepa Basadi.
We tackled three special projects, including the WiMSA documentary and a career booklet (for learners contemplating entering the mining industry), and we workshopped a WiM-chapter development toolkit. Our sponsors for these initiatives included TEG, Goldfields, Implats, Fraser Alexander and Webber Wentzel. Thanks to our Board Chairperson, Noleen Pauls, for project managing our career booklet and to the team at Onehundredpercent for the graphic design.
We hosted and facilitated a mix of online and virtual events at different times of the day to catch women working shifts or from the office or juggling family life in the evenings. Our events covered topics important to our members, like juggling work and family during Covid times, how to become adept at networking, dealing with imposter syndrome and confronting biases. Thanks to Worley, who hosted our year-end function.
We made a dedicated effort to partner and collaborate with organisations aligned with our purpose and values, such as The Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA), SAIMM, Electra Mining, TopCo Media, The Hyve Company (Mining Indaba), iWiM, WiMUK, GSSA, Pinpoint Stewards and the First Thursday Club.
We created quality content advocating for women, showcasing amazing women and inspiring women. We published articles in mining magazines, spoke at various conferences and recorded podcasts. Thanks to Solid Gold Podcasts for recording, editing, and publishing our podcasts.
We created a unified and recognisable brand where a WiMSA post is instantly recognisable on our social media pages. Thanks to Kathryn Coetzer (Epiroc), who joined the committee to kick-start our new look, and to Nici Maritz for creating our beautiful social media content.
We enlisted the help of our WiMSA patrons to guide, support and advocate for WiMSA. The first in-person event in 2022 was a patron-panel discussion for International Women’s Day about confronting our biases.
Our outreach programmes included a campaign to raise money to provide 365 learners with reusable sanitary pads (in partnership with Palesa pads) and supporting the Frida Hartley home for destitute women and children.
In 2022 WiMSA had its first booth at the Mining Indaba in partnership with WiM-UK and WiMBIZ. Here we also hosted a jam-packed panel discussion sponsored by Webber-Wentzel. We look forward to creating an even better space for catching up and kicking off the heels at the next Mining Indaba.
The past two years have gone by in a flash! None of it could have been possible without the dedication and support provided by WiMSA committee members Raksha Naidoo (deputy chair), Maria Combrinck, Briony Liber and Karabo Mothapo.
We also welcomed several sub-committee members who have supported our core committee with all the myriad activities mentioned. Thanks to Pity Pheko, Andri le Grange, Refilwe Ngwaku, Murendeni Makhado, Megan Jacobs, Avela Majavu and Megan du Plooy.
Personally, being able to serve on this committee for the past seven years and especially as the chair for the past two years have been an amazing transformational journey for me.
Coordinating a cohort of volunteers allows one to experience a different dimension of leadership. It has been a real privilege and honour to work alongside these dedicated, energetic and fun-loving ladies.
This is not goodbye, as I will serve WiMSA in a different capacity as a board member from 2023.
I now leave you in the capable hands of the new WiMSA working committee chairperson Raksha Naidoo, who I am sure will take WiMSA to even greater heights.
I hope you all have a wonderful festive season, and may 2023 be a year of growth, learning and making even more WiMSA friends.